The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has nominated Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo as the new Chief Justice swerving his protégée, Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, 59, whom he had sent to the Supreme Court, and tipped to be nominated as the head of the judiciary.
Justice Torkornoo’s nomination comes as the current Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah prepares to retire from the bench on 24 May 2023.
She becomes Ghana’s third female Chief Justice after Georgina Wood and Sophia Akuffo. She is also the third person to be made Chief Justice under Akufo-Addo administration after Sophia Akuffo and Anin Yeboah.
President Akufo-Addo in a letter to the Council of State dated Tuesday, 25 April 2023, said the nomination of Gertrude Torkornoo is to avoid any vacuum.
“Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah is due to retire from the bench on 24 May 2023, his seventieth birthday. In order to avoid a vacuum and ensure that a new Chief Justice is immediately in office after his retirement”.
“I have decided to begin the process of appointment now. Article 144 (1) of the constitution, which governs the appointment of a Chief Justice, requires that, I, first consult with the council of state before seeking the approval of Parliament,” the letter from the president stated.
It added, “Consequently, I am nominating Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo, a member of the Supreme Court, as the new Chief Justice. I hereby enclose a copy of her curriculum vitae for your attention.”
Gertrude Torkornoo hails from Winneba in the Central Region. She was born on 11 September 1962 in Cape Coast.
She attended Wesley Girls’ High School where she obtained her ordinary level certificate and Achimota School for her advanced level certificate.
She is an alumni of the University of Ghana and graduated from the Ghana School of Law in 1986.
In 2001 she obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in International Law and Organization from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), part of Erasmus University in the Netherlands.
In 2011, she graduated from the Golden Gate University, USA with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law.
Prior to joining Fugar & Co., a law firm in Accra as an associate, Justice Torkornoo worked as a volunteer at the
FIDA Legal Aid Service and did an internship with Nabarro Nathanson in London.
She returned to the firm (Fugar & Co.) in 1994 to become a director.
In January 1997, she co-founded Sozo Law Consult where she worked as Managing Partner until 14 May 2004 when she was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Ghana.
She worked as a High Court judge until October 2012 when she was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Justice Torkornoo was nominated to the Supreme Court of Ghana in November 2019.
She was sworn into office on 17 December 2019.
Justice Torkornoo has held several leadership roles in the judicial service.
In her work as chair of E-Justice Committee, she has led the planning of automation of all levels of courts, procurement and incorporation of the use of electronic resources and software in the work of the Judicial Service.
She has also served as the Supervising Judge of commercial courts since 2013 where she has set the agenda for and chaired the meetings and programs of the Users Committee of the Commercial Courts.
Yonny Kulendi was managing practitioner of his law firm Kulendi@Law, a commercial, litigation, and constitutional law practice.
Previously, he was an associate barrister and solicitor at Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co.
He underwent pupilage there, where he was assigned to the Legal Aid Board of Accra for his national service.
Yonni is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon, with an LLB Honors.
He completed his law degree at the Ghana School of Law, where he obtained a barrister of law degree and a solicitor’s certificate.
He is a member of the Ghana Bar. Yonny also holds an MA in international security and civil-military relations from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, USA.
He is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the African Leadership Initiative-West Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.